The term “self-made” is often criticised by many as a loose saying which doesn’t hold much stature in the modern world of entrepreneurship. However Maurice Terzini is the real self-made man, starting at 16 years old packing shelves, today, three decades later along with slew of high and low moments, he has become an institution in Bondi and an icon in the fashion industry.
From his experience in hospitality – currently at the famous Icebergs, Da Orazio Pizza, The Dolphin and Bonnie’s Wine Bar – to entering the fashion-sphere with Ten Pieces and collaborating with international DJ’s, he is also known for his New Year’s Day event when Icebergs flips to become the most anticipated party in town.
ICON sits down with the creative and businessman to explore his journey to self-made success.
30 years in the industry, a range of businesses between Sydney and Melbourne, and collaborations in fashion and music has been quite a ride. But the journey hasn’t always been smooth, you hit rock bottom at some point, what was the impact on your mindset and vision at that stage in your life?
“I only look back on those years when I get asked… I have managed to put those times behind me and not let them influence my current mindset which is very clear and directional. Those years of hitting an all time low were very taxing because it made me question and doubt my career and work ethic. It made me question my trust in people and partners …. it was difficult times both financially and mentally but like many, I soon realised that business is not always a smooth journey and sometimes when your back is up against the wall you have two basic choices: give up or stand up and fight.
In retrospect it has made me a smarter and better business person. I have learnt what I don’t like in business which I believe is so important.”
What did you see that was missing in the hospitality industry in Australia in those early days?
“I lived in Italy during the late 70s and early 80s as a teenager and those years established who I am today.
When I decided to open my first gig, it was a combination of being drawn to the hospitality industry as well as a need to promote a current Italy in Australia. The Italy I grew up in. At the time, I felt that most Italian establishments embraced the past rather than promote the current and look to the future.”
You come from a generation of hard work, hustle and no technology. What are your thoughts on the new generations and the impact of technology and social media on our lives?
“Technology and development for me is exciting in every aspect. It’s like going back to school… learning again… there is nothing more exciting than gaining more knowledge and learning new ways. We/I have embraced digital platforms in our businesses. In my life it’s even more exciting as it has made the world smaller and more accessible. I also lately have been looking at the way it has allowed more people to tell and share their stories. I am talking to people in the past I would have had no contact with … I find this exciting!”
Ten Pieces – what’s the idea and inspiration behind how it all started? And what are the plans for your label in the future?
“Ten Pieces started over a few bottles of wine with Ian Nessick at Restricted Premises in Kings Cross. We had been wanting to do stuff for a while and I had had some dabbles in fashion with KSUBI and others. So we got really drunk and came up with a capsule of 10 mainly punk/rude boy inspired suits… we decided to stop there and call it Ten Pieces! We sold out! When Lucy [Hinkfuss] and I hooked up (Lucy coming from an Arts and fashion background) we took to relaunch it. However this time we looked at free running urban sports and Oz subcultures (where boys and girls often looked dressed the same) as an inspiration. The birth of Ten Pieces.
The label at the moment plays a number of different roles and is a work-in-progress the last few years. We have joined up with two exciting partners Allan and Chris who have enormous experience in fashion, retail, production and design, giving 10 more depth and strength allowing us to develop stronger content. As usual we have lots of artist collaborations as well as more lifestyle collaborations (both with wine producers, “10 Wines”, and bar/world leader Mixologists, “10 Drinks” etc), lots of parties and exhibitions are lined up as well as our plan to be 100 percent sustainable in the near future (which is in line with my bars and restaurants).
The challenge that we are faced with is what model do we want to follow rather than what model is just best – retail or wholesale – advantages with both, but the excitement of establishing a Ten Pieces experience at retail level is exciting!”
Music is another big passion of yours, and New Year’s Day at the Icebergs is always the place to be. What can we expect this year?
“Yes, this year once again we can expect some excitement. We have once again called upon some good friends, Mambo Brothers to rock the house with other special guests, as well as long time collaborators Sneaky Sound System.
For one day a year we turn one of Sydney’s most iconic restaurants into one of the worlds best day clubs.”
You can follow ICON’s Street Editor, Roberto Malizia on Instagram @this.is.malice